Noah Centineo in Talks to Play He-Man in Sony and Mattel Films ‘Masters of the Universe’ (Exclusive)

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Noah Centineo is in talks to play the lead role of He-Man in Sony Pictures and Mattel Films “Masters of the Universe,” an individual with knowledge of the project exclusively tells TheWrap.

Aaron and Adam Nee are set to direct from a script rewritten by “Iron Man” screenwriters Matt Holloway and Art Marcum.  The Nee Brothers also have screenwriting credit.

The project was previously written by David S. Goyer, who is also an executive producer.

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Based on Mattel’s hugely successful 1980s toy line, “Masters of the Universe” follows Prince Adam, heir to the throne of planet Eternia, who uses the magical Power Sword to transform into the heroic warrior He-Man. With the help of his allies Teela, Man-at-Arms, Orko and The Sorceress, He-Man defends the kingdom from the evil wizard Skeletor (so-named because his face is an exposed skull), who seeks to gain control of Castle Grayskull, source of He-Man’s powers.

Launched in 1982, the toy line was notable for an ever-expanding roster of colorful characters with weird gimmicks — like “Mekaneck,” whose neck extends, or “Man-E-Faces,” who transforms his head from human to robot to monster — and for minicomics included with every toy that explained and expanded the line’s lore. 

The line’s popularity was boosted by “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” an animated series produced by Filmation from 1983-1985. That show spawned a feature animated film “He-Man and She-Ra: The Secret of the Sword,” and the for-television “He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special,” launching the successor “She-Ra: Princess of Power” cartoon and line of toys.

Also Read: ‘Iron Man’ Scribes in Talks to Rewrite ‘Masters of the Universe’ For Mattel Films

“Masters of the Universe” was previously adapted as a live-action film in 1987, with Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and Frank Langella as Skeletor, and featuring Courtney Cox in one of her first film roles.

The new film is being produced by Escape Artists principals Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch. Mattel is also involved with the movie, as its execs Julia Pistor and David Voss will executive produce on behalf of the company.

Hot off the success of Netflix’s “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” and “Sierra Burgess Is A Loser,” Centineo just began production on “To All The Boys 2” and will be seen in “Charlie’s Angels” later this year.

Centineo is repped by Definition Entertainment, CAA and Myman Greenspan.

Sony had no comment.

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Jeff Wadlow to Direct ‘Danger Girl’ for Constantin Film

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Jeff Wadlow will direct the “Danger Girl” comic book adaptation for Constantin Film, the company announced on Wednesday.

The action/adventure feature is based on the comic book series created by J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell about an all-female-team of super-spy adventurers.

“Danger Girl” is a priority for Constantin, which plans to begin filming by 2020. Wadlow, who is currently directing Sony’s upcoming “Fantasy Island,” will do additional rewrites on the script. Umair Aleem wrote the initial drafts.

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“Danger Girl,” beginning with a 1998 limited series and continuing through several subsequent miniseries and one-shots, follows the adventures of Abbey Chase, a reluctant recruit into the eponymous all-female secret spy organization. Paired with operatives Sydney Savage, Natalia Kasstle and “Silicon Val,” she embarks on a globe-trotting adventure to locate a series of objects with destructive power and keep them out of the hands of the evil Hammer Syndicate.

“Danger Girl” was adapted as a video game for Sony PlayStation 2000.

Robert Kulzer of Constantin Film, Jeremy Bolt of JB Pictures, and Adrian Askarieh of Prime Universe Films are producing. Executive Producers are Constantin Film’s Martin Moszkowicz, along with J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell.

Wadlow was repped on the deal by Artists First, UTA, and attorney David Matlof.

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‘The Dark Knight’ Trilogy IMAX Engagement Sold Out in LA and NYC Almost Immediately (Exclusive)

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Christopher Nolan’s upcoming “The Dark Knight” trilogy IMAX engagement in Los Angeles sold out in less than a minute after tickets went on sale, TheWrap has exclusively learned. AMC Lincoln Square (IMAX) in New York City sold out almo…

Destin Daniel Cretton to Direct Asian-American Superhero Movie ‘Shang-Chi’ for Marvel Studios

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Marvel Studios has hired Destin Daniel Cretton to direct the Asian-American super hero tent pole based on Marvel Comics’ popular “Shang-Chi” character of the 1970s, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Dave Callaham is writing the script that will ultimately modernize the Shang-Chi story and character arc. Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige is producing the film. Marvel’s Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, and Jonathan Schwartz are executive producers on the project.

Marvel Studios is looking to tap into that authentic filmmaking superpower that brought “Black Panther” to cinematic life by bringing on Cretton and a predominantly Asian-American and Asian cast.

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Cretton is currently directing “Just Mercy,” a feature film he also wrote which stars Brie Larson and Michael B. Jordan. Larson first met Cretton when she starred in his second feature film “Short Term 12.” His other directorial credits include “The Glass Castle.” In addition to Larson and Jordan, Cretton, has worked with several Marvel Cinematic Universe filmmakers including “Black Panther” director Ryan Coolger, with whom Cretton developed the television series “Scenes for Minors.”

The original Marvel Comics Shang-Chi features Shang, a half-Chinese, half-American super hero. He was created by writer Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin. In the comics Shang-Chi is an extraordinary master of numerous unarmed and weaponry-based wushu styles, including the use of the gun, nunchaku and jian.

Shang-Chi first appeared in Special Marvel Edition #15 (December 1973) by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin.

Cretton is represented by WME.

Deadline first reported the news.

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William Creber, Production Designer on ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘The Poseidon Adventure,’ Dies at 87

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William “Bill” Creber, a three-time Oscar-nominated Production Designer and Art Director known for his work on “Planet of the Apes” (1967) and “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972) died in Los Angeles on March 7 of complications from pneumonia after a prolonged illness. He was 87.

Creber’s Oscar nominations came for his work as a production designer on “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1964), “The Poseidon Adventure” and “The Towering Inferno” (1975) for which he also received a BAFTA nomination. Creber was nominated for a Primetime Emmy in 1964 for “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” and was honored with an Art Directors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.

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“This was the man who designed and then flipped cruise ships, burned skyscrapers, and created an entire ape culture,” said Nelson Coates, president of the Art Directors Guild in a statement to TheWrap. “Though his last feature was 21 years ago, Bill Creber remained a vital influence in the industry, with his institutional memory, sharing of relevant production solutions, and his amazing skills devising, executing, and teaching incredible methods of in-camera visual fx.”

Creber was also celebrated for his work on the original “Planet of the Apes” (1968) followed by “Beneath the Planet of the Apes” (1970) and “Escape from the Planet of the Apes” (1971). Among his many additional credits are “Islands in the Stream,” “Any Which Way You Can,” “Flight of the Navigator” and the TV series “Mod Squad.” Creber’s last credit was for 2001’s “The Last Brickmaker in America.”

Creber is survived by his wife Sally Queen and son Ken Creber. Details for a memorial service will be announced shortly.

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Jaume Collet-Serra to Direct ‘Victory’ Remake at Warner Bros (Exclusive)

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Spanish director Jaume Collet-Serra will direct “Victory” at Warner Bros., a remake of the uplifting sports movie of the same name which starred Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone and Pele, an individual with knowledge of the project exclusively told TheWrap.

Gavin O’Connor and Anthony Tambakis wrote a draft of the script in 2017. Tambakis is now doing a rewrite.

Gianni Nunnari and Bernie Goldmann are producing.

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The remake centers on the Nazi forces’ world-class English soccer coach John Colby, a POW with a history of trying to escape, effort to put together a team of other POW soccer stars for a game against the German national team in front of Hitler in occupied Paris. When given the opportunity to escape during the game, the players must decide whether to humiliate the Nazis in the eyes of the world and spark a resistance or to save their own lives.

Collet-Serra, who is also attached to direct “Waco” for Annapurna, is currently in post-production on Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” which is set to star Dwayne Johnson. Collet-Serra recently directed “The Commuter” for Lionsgate which starred Liam Neeson and made $120 million worldwide on a budget of $30 million. His other credits include genre hit “Orphan,” Unknown,” “Non-Stop,” “Run All Night” and shark thriller “The Shallows,” which grossed $119 million worldwide on a $17 million budget.

Serra is repped by CAA.

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‘Captain Marvel’: Marvel Studios Boss on Why Film Version of Mar-Vell Is a Woman

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

(Major spoilers ahead for “Captain Marvel”)

One of “Captain Marvel” coolest surprises was the fact that the Kree hero Mar-Vell is a woman, played by Annette Benning, instead of a man as in the comics. During the recent “Captain Marvel” press junket in Beverly Hills, Marvel Studios Chief Kevin Feige explained that making that change to the comics lore was essential to telling the story of Carol Danvers in film.

“It was really about the development of this story, and about how best to showcase Carol Danvers growth, and development as a hero, and the notion that she had a female best friend, a female mentor, seemed important to us, and was something that was an idea that Anna had as the script is as she and Ryan were doing their pass at their script, and it all sort of fell together, particularly then with Annette Bening being able to play both of those spoilery parts,” said Feige.

In the comics, Mar-Vell is a man — and the original Captain Marvel. Created in 1967 by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, he was a celebrated Kree warrior sent to earth disguised as a human to observe and assess if we are a threat to the Kree. After using his powers to save several people’s lives, he’s embraced as a new superhero (called “Marvel” because people mispronounced his name). Eventually, decides to stand with humanity and rejects the Kree empire. He later serves as a mentor to Air Force pilot Carol Danvers, and is involved in the accident that gave her superpowers. She operates as the hero “Ms. Marvel” for a time, but after Mar-Vell dies, Carol assumes the title Captain Marvel in tribute to him.

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In the film, Mar-Vell is a Kree scientist who rebels against her government’s wars of conquest and aggression who comes to earth in the 1980s disguised as a human scientist named Wendy Lawson. Mar-Vell heads up a secret research project using the Tesseract (aka the Space infinity stone, which MCU fans know was on earth in S.H.I.E.L.D. possession) to try to develop an experimental “Lightspeed Engine,” which she hopes can help Skrull refugees escape from Kree persecution.

But like the comic book version, Mar-Vell still serves as a mentor to Carol Danvers, and is also involved in the events that give her superpowers. In short, she’s just as instrumental in Carol’s life here as she is in the comics, possibly even more. You can read more about that here.

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CAA Promotes 21 Trainees to Agent and Executive Ranks

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Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has promoted 21 trainees to agent/executive, the company announced on Friday.

The promotions were made during the company’s annual retreat.

Barry Buren, Carly Fromm, Nikki Goldfarb, Ilana Goren, Jacob Schiff, and Jiah Shin have been promoted to Agents in CAA’s Television division. Based in CAA’s Los Angeles office, Goren, Schiff, and Shin will serve in Scripted Television, with Buren in Television Talent. Fromm and Goldfarb are in the Alternative Television department, with Fromm operating out of the New York office, and Goldfarb in Los Angeles.

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Five trainees have been elevated to Agent in CAA’s Touring division, which in 2018 represented nearly 40% of the Top 100 music and comedy tours in North America. Akin Aliu and Lizzie Holdforth have been promoted to Agents in Music Touring, with Aliu based in Los Angeles, and Holdforth in London. Olivia Farrell and Guy Howes have been promoted to Agents in the Music Brand Partnerships department. Farrell will continue to operate from the New York office, with Howes based in London. Ethan Kurtzman has been promoted to Agent in Comedy Touring, and will be based in New York.

Layne Murrow and Harrison Waterstreet are now Agents in CAA’s Motion Pictures Talent department, while Natan Bogin has been elevated to Agent in CAA’s Media Finance department, specializing in the packaging, financing, and distribution of content across a variety of formats.

Berni Barta has been promoted to Agent in CAA’s Books department, focusing on book-to-film/television and publishing activities.

Barta, Bogin, Murrow, and Waterstreet are all based in Los Angeles.

New York-based Maddi Mobley has been promoted to Executive in CAA Brand Consulting, comprised of 230 employees in the U.S., London, Germany, and China, who are advising, managing, and activating on more than $3 billion in sponsorship rights deals for blue-chip global clients. Alexandra Wakefield has been elevated to Executive in CAA Sports’ Golf Consulting group and will continue to operate from the Agency’s Jacksonville, Florida, office.

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Sam Rose have been elevated to Agents in CAA Sports’ Basketball department, which represents 75 All-Star and emerging NBA players, including 42 first-round Draft selections, 50 All-Star player appearances, and 36 All-NBA selections. He continues to be based in the New York office. Additionally, Cavan Walsh has been elevated to Agent in CAA’s Sports’ Coaches department and is based in the Chicago office.

Kip Ludwig is now an Agent in CAA’s Speakers department and is based in New York, Scott Zanghellini is now an Agent in Commercial Endorsements, based in Los Angeles.

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‘Captain Marvel’: Kevin Feige on Film’s ‘Female Voice’ and the MCU’s ‘More Diverse’ Future

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

When making “Captain Marvel,” Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige says it was critical that the film have “a female voice behind the camera.” Particularly because the film, like last year’s “Black Panther,” represents the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“Anna [Boden] and her directing partner, Ryan [Fleck], did an amazing job, and made the movie what it is, so yes, so we did believe it was very important that this story be told with a female voice behind the camera, many female voices behind the camera in this case,” said Feige. “It’s all about going forward. We won’t discuss anything past ‘Endgame’ and ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home,’ but there are many things coming.”

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“People also ask sometimes about ‘Black Panther.’ So, the notion of representation on screen, in front of and behind the camera, somebody asked me once, so is ‘Black Panther’ a one-off? I said, no, it’s not a one-off. This is the future. This is the way the world is, and the way, certainly, our studio’s going to be run going forward, because it brings about better stories. The more diverse the group of people making the movie is, the better the stories,” added Feige.

“Captain Marvel,” Marvel’s first female-led superhero film, made an estimated $20.7 million in Thursday box office previews. This total is the fifth biggest preview gross for any MCU title, behind “Infinity War,” “Age of Ultron,” “Black Panther” and “Captain America: Civil War.”

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‘Captain Marvel’ Co-Director on How That ‘True Lies’ Standee Ended Up in the Film

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Early on in “Captain Marvel,” when Vers (Brie Larson) lands inside of Blockbuster Video, she blasts away a standee from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “True Lies” to hilarious effect.

So how did the filmmakers land on that to be the standee that gets blasted, and were there any other not-great ’90s movies that almost got that spot? During the “Captain Marvel” press conference which took place last month at The Beverly Hilton, co-director Ryan Fleck gave the answer.

“I think we tried to use ‘The Mask’ with Jim Carrey and we thought that would be funny,” said Fleck.

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“But the studio did not give us permission to use it, so, ah — bummer,” he added.

Right now, independent trackers have the latest MCU film earning an opening weekend of as much as $145 million. But between the overwhelming interest in seeing the first Marvel solo female superhero movie and its connection to the even more anticipated “Avengers: Endgame,” analysts who spoke to TheWrap say there’s a chance that “Captain Marvel” could beat the female lead opening record of $158 million, which was set by “Catching Fire” in November 2013.

And if “Captain Marvel” really over-indexes, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that it could break the March opening weekend record of $174.7 million, set by the 2017 remake of “Beauty and the Beast.” Already, Fandango notes that “Captain Marvel” has had the most ticket presales on their site of any film since “Avengers: Infinity War.”

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Jared Harris Joins Cast of Sony Marvel Film ‘Morbius’

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Jared Harris has joined the cast Sony’s “Morbius,” which will star Jared Leto as the titular Marvel comic book villain turned antihero, an individual with knowledge of the project tells TheWrap.

Harris’ role is being kept under wraps.

“Morbius” is one of several projects being developed by Sony based on characters from the “Spider-Man” comics. The franchise paid dividends for the studio in 2018 with “Venom,” which grossed $855 million worldwide, and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which grossed $327 million and earned a Best Animated Feature Oscar last week. Both films have sequels in the works.

Daniel Espinosa will direct the film from a script by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach and Lucas Foster are producing with Palak Patel overseeing for the studio.

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The Morbius character was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane and first appeared in “The Amazing Spider-Man” issue no. 101 in 1971. In the comics, Michael Morbius is a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who is transformed into a vampire while attempting to cure a rare blood disease with a highly experimental approach involving electroshock therapy… and vampire bats.

As a “pseudo-vampire,” Morbius does not possess all the powers of an actual vampire, and isn’t subject to all the traditional limitations and weaknesses thereof, according to Marvel lore.

He must digest blood to survive and has a strong aversion to light, like most vampires. But he also has the ability to fly, and superhuman strength, speed and healing abilities. His bite tends to be lethal, but his victims do not necessarily become vampires themselves.

Morbius almost made it to the big screen before. In 2000, when Avi Arad was president and CEO of Marvel Studios, the company entered into an agreement with Artisan Entertainment to turn at least 15 Marvel superhero franchises into live-action films, television series, direct-to-video films or internet projects. Morbius would have been among the franchises.

Harris, best known for his roles on AMC’s “Mad Men” and Netflix’s “The Crown,” is repped by ICM, Gateway Management and Independent.

Deadline first reported the news.

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‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ Director Just Goes Ahead and Says Who Will Die, and It’s [Spoiler Warning]

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“X-Men: Dark Phoenix” director Simon Kinberg has just spoiled his own movie and mentioned who will die in a new interview.

Last chance. Huge Spoiler Warning!

Still with us? OK, in the opening moments of the new trailer, Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix (Sophie Turner) murders shape-shifting mutant Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence)! In an interview with EW, Kinberg explains what made him want to reveal such a shocker in the new trailer.

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“Well, the thought process behind that was to primarily show that this is a movie that is unlike other X-Men movies,” said Kinberg. “It’s a movie where shocking things happen, where intense, dramatic things happen. People don’t just fall off buildings and dust themselves off and walk away. There’s a reality to this movie and a consequence to this movie. Even more than that, it was to show that Jean/Dark Phoenix is genuinely a threat to everyone, including the X-Men.”

“I felt it was the strongest, most dramatic thing for the movie, and sometimes you have to make those kinds of hard decisions to service the larger story,” added Kinberg. “And the larger story really is Jean cracking up, losing control because she’s more powerful than anyone else in the world. To dramatize that properly, you have to show real loss, you have to show real pain and show real threat and menace.”

For those who don’t know, the film is based on the highly celebrated and influential “X-Men” storyline of the same name by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, as detailed in “Uncanny X-Men” #101-108 (1976-1977) and “Uncanny X-Men” #129-138 (1980). In that story, Jean Grey merges with a cosmic entity that embodies the universal energy of creation and destruction, giving her vastly enhanced psychic abilities that transform her into “Dark Phoenix,” a genocidal force of unimaginable power.

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The film was written and directed by Kinberg, and also stars Jessica Chastain, Michael Fassbender, Tye Sheridan, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult and Evan Peters.

“X-Men: Dark Phoenix” hits theaters June 7.

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Oscars In Memoriam Snubs: Sondra Locke, Verne Troyer, Dick Miller, R Lee Ermey

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Sondra Locke, Oscar-nominated actress and former partner of Clint Eastwood, Verne Troyer, character actor Dick Miller and Golden Globe nominee R. Lee Ermey were omitted during the Oscars’ In Memoriam tribute on Sunday.

Carol Channing, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 1967 film, “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” died in January, was also omitted during the tribute to showbiz people who died in the past year.

Gustavo Dudamel conducted the Los Angeles Philarmonic to a track from 1978’s “Superman: The Movie.”

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Locke earned her Oscar nomination in 1968 for her supporting role in the adaptation of Carson McCullers’ “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter.” It was her first acting role, which led to roles in films like “Willard” and “The Second Coming of Suzanne.”

Troyer, who was diagnosed with achondroplasia dwarfism, played Mini-Me in the “Austin Powers” films and also starred as Griphook the goblin in “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.”

Miller began his acting career in the 1950s in the theater before moving to Los Angeles, kicking off his six-decade career in film with hundreds of credits. He’s best known for his role in director Joe Dante’s “Gremlins” and its sequel, “Gremlins 2: The New Batch.” Miller played Murray Futterman, a World War II veteran haunted by memories of the creatures from the war, who gets his chance to fight back against the creatures when they attack a small Midwestern town during Christmas.

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Ermey, a Marine Corps veteran, made his film debut in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now,” and went on to play authority figures in films like “Mississippi Burning,” “Se7en” and the “Toy Story” films (where he voiced Sarge, leader of the plastic Army men).

A representative for the Academy did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

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‘Hobbs and Shaw’: Production Wraps on Dwayne Johnson ‘Fast and Furious’ Spinoff (Photo)

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“Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” has wrapped production, prompting Dwayne Johnson to give his co-star Jason Statham a shout out as one “tough bastard” who he’d remember making “laugh so f—ing hard during the [sic] our takes he couldn’t even talk.”

“HOBBS & SHAW is officially wrapped,” Johnson said on his Instagram account posted along with a photo of him, Statham and a helicopter rigged off the ground.

“Easily the most challenging film I’ve ever produced and starred in,” Johnson wrote, adding that it is also shaping up to be his most rewarding film. He then gave kudos to Statham, giving him a “HUGE bald and brotherly MAHALO” for trusting him and their chemistry, and who “‘pushed all his chips in’ to make something bad ass and fun for the fans.”

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Read Johnson’s complete message to fans below.

View this post on Instagram

Last men standing. HOBBS & SHAW is officially wrapped. Easily the most challenging film I’ve ever produced and starred in, however based on the fans’ insanely hyped “break the internet” reactions to our first trailer — this film is also shaping up to be my most rewarding. A HUGE bald and brotherly MAHALO to the man who trusted me and our chemistry and “pushed all his chips in” to make something bad ass and fun for the fans. My uso @jasonstatham. He’s one legit talented and tough bastard and the pure joy I got from making him laugh so fucking hard during the our takes he couldn’t even talk, I will always remember with evil ???? glee. Finally, one of the best heli pilots in the world @fred_north demonstrating here our extreme commitment we all had to deliver the goods to our worldwide audience. #ThatsAWrap #LastMenStanding #AllChipsIn #HOBBSANDSHAW AUGUST 2nd @sevenbucksprod

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When we last saw Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw in “The Fate of the Furious,” the two bitter enemies had reconciled after joining forces to defeat Cipher. Now the two are taking a break from Dominic Toretto’s family to stop an international terrorist played by Idris Elba.

Action director David Leitch (“John Wick,” “Deadpool 2”) directed the film, which was written by longtime “Fast and Furious” screenwriter Chris Morgan.

Also Read: ‘Hobbs & Shaw’: Dwayne Johnson Shares First Look Staredown With Jason Statham (Photo)

The film also stars Vanessa Kirby, Helen Mirren, and Johnson’s cousin and WWE wrestler Roman Reigns, who filmed his scenes while recovering from a leukemia diagnosis that put his wrestling career on hold.

“Hobbs and Shaw” arrives in theaters Aug. 2.

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Jussie Smollett Denies Hiring Defense Attorney

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A representative for “Empire” star Jussie Smollett denies a report that the actor has hired Michael Cohen’s criminal defense attorney, Michael D. Monico.

Monico said during an interview on WGN’s The Roe Conn Show on Thursday and then confirmed in a report in Variety Friday that Smollett was his client.

“I’d like to get your thoughts [on] Jussie Smollett here, but we can’t get your thoughts on Jussie Smollett because [of] this big developing story today, and it turns out you’re the attorney for Jussie Smollett, too,” Conn said to Monico.

“Yes, at the moment, I am,” Monico replied.

Also Read: Jussie Smollett Case: Arrested Men Released Without Charges ‘Due to New Evidence’

Smollett’s rep denied the report when contacted by TheWrap on Saturday, and Monico declined to comment on the matter.

Smollett told detectives he was attacked near his Chicago home by two men on Jan. 29 yelling about “MAGA,” as well as spewing racist and homophobic slurs. According to a police statement, the actor reported that he was battered “about the face,” that “an unknown chemical substance” was poured on him, and that the attackers wrapped a rope around his neck.

Two males were arrested and questioned as “potential suspects” then released without charges “due to new evidence” on Friday.

Also Read: Jussie Smollett Tells Robin Roberts He’s ‘Pissed Off’: ‘How Do You Not Believe That?’ (Video)

Police have said that Smollett continues to be considered a victim in relation to the investigation, contesting two recent news reports saying investigators have raised the possibility that Smollett may have orchestrated the attack himself.

“Media reports about the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives,” Chicago police tweeted Thursday. “Supt Eddie Johnson has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Fox Says Jussie Smollett Staying on ‘Empire’; Chicago PD Rejects Hoax Reports

Chicago PD Identifies Persons of Interest in Jussie Smollett Attack Investigation

Jussie Smollett Has Been ‘Doubly Victimized’ by ‘Media Industry and Broader Culture,’ GLAAD Says

Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ Movie Taps Writer Ned Benson

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Marvel’s “Black Widow” movie has enlisted Ned Benson to rewrite the first solo film featuring the female superhero played since 2010 by Scarlett Johansson, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

Australian director Cate Shortland, best known for the Nazi drama “Lore,” is on board to direct. Blacklist Screenwriter Jac Schaeffer wrote the previous draft of the script.

Black Widow debuted in “Iron Man 2” and since then has appeared in both “Avengers” films, as well as “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Captain America: Civil War.” Interest in a standalone outing for the character has been consistently high, with a 2016 Fandago poll  finding “Black Widow” as Avengers fans’ top pick for a solo film.

“Black Widow” boosters also note Johansson’s high box office draw outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with her 2014 action hit “Lucy” earning almost $500 million worldwide.

Also Read: Cate Shortland to Direct ‘Black Widow’ Movie for Marvel

Marvel hasn’t set a release date for the “Black Widow” film just yet. The studio has a full slate of projects dated through 2019, ending with “Avengers: Endgame,” which is also likely to feature Black Widow. But Marvel chief Kevin Feige said in 2016 that the studio and parent company Disney are “committing” to giving the character her own movie and possible franchise.

Talking to TheWrap in 2016, “Captain America: Civil War” screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus broke down the character’s arc in the MCU, saying that her “journey, over her various appearances, is one coming out of the shadows and into the light.”

Benson’s credits include “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” and “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Benson is repped by UTA.

Marvel declined to comment.

Collider first reported the news.

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About That Black Widow Movie: Writers Say ScarJo Character Is Ready to Lead

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